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Council decided to conduct a review of the Ward Boundaries, to consider if and or how they should be changed to ensure that they deliver “effect representation.”
Ward boundaries often have their roots in history. They often reflect where the population lived and how big it was at the time the boundaries were first drawn.
But communities grow. The Current ward boundaries were set in 1994. Communities always evolve, and as population grows, it is common that wards grow at a different rate, which can throw the population of wards out of balance.
Part of “effective representation” is having wards that are relatively equal in population. This is important to ensuring that each vote is of approximately equal weight in electing representatives to Council.
But there are other to “effective representation.” It is also important to consider geographic features like rivers or roads, the history of communities, the way they function today and the way we plan for them to function and grow tomorrow.
What are the Principles of "Effective Representation"?
“Effective representation” as set out by the Supreme Court of Canada in Reference re Provincial Electoral Boundaries establishes the following guiding principles:
Representation by Population: wards should have relatively equal population totals. However, a degree of variation is acceptable given differences in geography and population densities as well as the town’s characteristics;
Population and Electoral Trends: consider anticipated population increases/decreases so that ward sizes will be balanced for up to three terms of Council;
Means of Communication and Accessibility: group existing neighbourhoods into wards that reflect current transportation and communication patterns;
Geographic and Topographical Features: use geographical and topographical features to delineate ward boundaries while keeping wards compact and easy to understand; and,
Community or Diversity of Interests: as far as possible, ward boundaries should be drawn around recognized settlement areas, traditional neighbourhoods and community groupings – not through them.